July 22, 2015

God is full of surprises!

2 Samuel 9:1–10:19, 1 Peter 5:1–14, Psalm 138:1–8

Yesterday I was shaking in my sandals. This morning I was overwhelmed with dread. The proposal for the church is a good one and definitely from the Lord, but I am feeling so inadequate for this and in my heart am thinking I cannot do it. Since opening my eyes from sleep, I’ve been asking God to help me with this, but frankly, I wasn’t expecting much from 2 Samuel. However, “On the day I called, you answered me; my strength of soul you increased.” (Psalm 138:3)

David is looking for someone left in Saul’s family that he can show God’s kindness to. He was told of a crippled son of Jonathan, so went to him and said, “Do not fear, for I will show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan, and I will restore to you all the land of Saul your father, and you shall eat at my table always.”

When this cripple man heard that, he paid homage and said, “What is your servant, that you should show regard for a dead dog such as I?” (2 Samuel 9:3–8)

Those words express how I am feeling about God asking me to serve Him. What am I that He should show any regard for me? I am not able to run with this proposal should the church accept it.

The next chapter describes a battle. Joab leads David’s army against two armies, the Syrians and the Ammonites who agreed to attack Israel together. “When Joab saw that the battle was set against him both in front and in the rear, he chose some of the best men of Israel and arrayed them against the Syrians. The rest of his men he put in the charge of Abishai his brother, and he arrayed them against the Ammonites.” In other words, Joab made a plan but he didn’t leave God out of it, nor did he try to do it himself. After laying out the plan, he said . . .

“If the Syrians are too strong for me, then you shall help me, but if the Ammonites are too strong for you, then I will come and help you. Be of good courage, and let us be courageous for our people, and for the cities of our God, and may the Lord do what seems good to him.” (2 Samuel 10:9–12)

God’s answer to me is the same: “Make your plan, include others to help, be courageous for the sake of the people you will serve and for those who belong to Me, and I will do what seems good to Me.”

This is direct, to the point, and a strong word of encouragement! Nice surprise, God!
The NT reading gives a bit of added instruction. Peter is telling church leaders what they must do, and in these words I can see that the Lord will always have clear instructions for me too. He has my back. I don’t need to be anxious about how to do this.

Peter says things like, “Shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock . . . be subject to the elders. Clothe yourself with humility toward one another . . .  since God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble . . . . Humble yourself under His mighty hand so that at the proper time He may exalt you . . . cast all your anxieties on Him because He cares for you.”

Also, I am to be watchful against Satan, resisting him and remaining firm in my faith. I might suffer somewhat, but God will “Himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish” me. I am His child. (1 Peter 5:1–11) Really, should I be surprised?

To answer my own question, I repeat what the psalmist says, “The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.” (Psalm 138:8)

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